Is your SMB Website Old School? (Upgrade to CSS)

Friday, January 26, 2007
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

Is Your Business Website Old School -
5 Reasons To Redesign With CSS
By Linda Bustos 

Many small business owners have a hard time seeing the value of a website redesign. They believe "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." And this is understandable. Unless you are eating, breathing and sleeping technology and staying up to date with the moving target of Internet business, you're not likely to know intuitively if your site needs a redesign.
And as a small business owner, you may be concerned about the up-front costs of a website redesign. But once you understand how a redesign can help you drive traffíc to your site, convert more users and even save monëy, you'll feel more positive about making the ínvestment in your business.

Old School Web Design - Tables-Based HTML

Not long ago, fax machines were the best way to deliver business documents fast. But now it's so easy to scan and email documents, and even capture digital signatures through email, the fax machine is quickly going the way of the typewriter. With email, recipients can choose to read and archive the message online, or print it out themselves on their own desktop printer. No need for individual telephone lines for the fax machine, taking up desk space, replacing toner, uncurling fax paper and listening to screeching fax machine tones!

Tables-based HTML websites are like the fax machine. At one time tables were the best way to render information on the Web. But like curled paper and fading ink, tables left something to be desired. Designers were constrained by tables that allowed data to be rendered only in tabular förm. The clean, professional and creative layouts today's best designers create with Cascading Style Sheets could nevër be achieved with tables-based HTML.

New School Web Design - Cascading Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets separate the presentation elements of a website (code) from its content (words). CSS allows web designers and developers to format the layout and style (fonts, spacing, text size, colors and so on) of multiple Web pages using one file, rather than entering the code to each individual page. Making changes to styles and layouts is much quicker and easier with CSS as well, as updating one file "cascades" the changes to every page on the site. There is less room for error, and the website maintains a professional consistency.

But web designers and developers are not the only ones who benefit from CSS. You as a business owner benefit even more. How?

5 Solid Reasons To Redesign Your Website With CSS

1. Branding and Aesthetics

Consumer behavior experts tell us that, presented with many similar product or service options, and little prior knowledge and experience with these brands or companies, consumers will rely on mental shortcuts to make purchase decisions. The way your website looks compared to your competitors has a large influence on how a visitor perceives your company's professionalism and goodwill. If your website looks modern, crisp and clean, you leave a positive impression on your visitors about your company.

2. Better Usability

CSS also reduces the amount of HTML code a website requires. Tables and extra tags for fonts and colors cause pages to load slowly. The longer it takes for your page to load, the more likely a visitor will hit the back button. Even though the majority of people use a broadband connection, many are still using dialup. And others may be using a high speed wireless network which, depending on how many others are sharing the same wireless channel, may experience fast or slow connections.

3. Accessibility

Rapid advances in wireless communications have made it easy to surf the 'Net using PDA's and cell phones. Tabular page layouts simply don't display properly on small screens. A business that wants to be accessible to anyone, anywhere now and in the future needs to have a website